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Friday, October 14, 2011

Singapore Restaurant Week- Le St Julien, Chef d'Table, Brasserie les Saveurs

I don't usually like to splurge on food, especially not in Singapore, a foodie city if there ever was one, where no restaurant or even hawker food stall could possibly survive if it was mediocre. But, I'm also a sucker for a good deal, and hence, whenever Restaurant Week rolls around, I browse through the selections and see if there is anything that I deem a good enough deal to splurge on. What do you know, Restaurant Week in Singapore this season falls during my birthday week (yes, you get a lot more leverage out of your birthday if you stretch it out over a week, hoho) and hence there was an additional reason to splurge!

I decided to try out Chef d'Table at Chijmes, Le St Julien at Fullerton Water Boat House and Brasserie les Saveurs at St. Regis this week (the latter two of which had a surcharge of $20 per person, up from the usual $35 dinner prix fixe). I really miss the Restaurant Week offerings in Boston (where I lived for 6 years), where you had the option of wine pairings with every course. But perhaps that would be too expensive to implement in Singapore since alcohol is so highly taxed.

First up was Chef d'Table, helmed by Executive Chef Jason Lee who used to head 7 on Club, a restaurant down the street from where I used to live. I must say, as a non-surcharge restaurant, they completely blew me away, perhaps even besting the other two restaurants that I tried. To start with, I had the crispy fried home-made tofu perfumed with white truffle oil and laced with mushroom mirin-soy sauce. This was melt-in-your mouth delectable and light, you could taste the tofu and yet all the subtle flavours of truffle and mushroom infused it with such fragrance. My friend whom I was dining with had the salmon carpaccio nicoise, arugula salad and red wine caramel, which was a very generous portion and very fresh. After the appetisers, we were given a small cup of lobster bisque, which was probably the most delicious things I have eaten for a very long time. Just thinking about it now is enough to set my salivary glands to work. Every sip was so rich in lobster flavour, and comforting in texture, it was like an entire lobster might have been used to make a small pot of this. So, so so delicious. I would go back just for this. For the main course, we both had the five spice crusted Dory fillet with sautéed cream cabbage with port wine and sherry vinegar butter sauce. This was again very delicious, and also in such generous portions, we were both mmm-ing and ahh-ing through the meal. The salty spices blended perfectly with the juicy yet flaky fish. For dessert, we had a just-right portion of rich almond chocolate fondant, which I polished off with great satisfaction... Considering this was not a starred surcharge restarant (or even if it was, I would venture to say), this was an amazing value meal all around.

Next up, we had lunch at Le St Julien at Fullerton Water Boat House. This was the meal I was most excited about, and perhaps I was already setting myself up for disappointment since I had set the expectations so high. My husband and I both had the paté to start, which I found so-so (waayy to rich and heavy) but which my husband really loved. I ordered an extra side of their signature lobster bisque ($22; wondering how it would compare to the one I had at Chef d'Table and hoping for another orgasmic experience), while my husband had their house mash ($12), well, because he loves mash. Their lobster bisque, which comes with shavings of gruyere, was delicious, but not very much better than that at Chef d'Table (especially considering a serving was $22 for lunch compared to the $35 four-course meal for dinner at Chef d'Table). For the main course, we both had the crispy rice with duck confit, which was pretty delicious and quite unique. I liked it a lot. For dessert, there was only one option, a strawberry shortcake-like pastry with dark chocolate mousse and raspberries. This was nice, but not amazing. All around, for a $70 per person lunch (including tax and service), this was probably not the bestest deal.

Finally, we had dinner for my birthday at Brasserie les Saveurs at St. Regis. They do get the most points for ambience and service, we had a great feeling in the place (but perhaps it was the bottle of wine we ordered from the convivial sommelier; hard to tell!). To start with, we had a light amuse bouche of a minty-cucumbery chilled soup which was unique and a pleasant palate cleanser. For the first course, I ordered the french crab and avocado with herb salad and balsamic sorbet, which was completely delicious with VERY generous servings of sweet crab (I love crab!). My husband had the escargots, which to me tasted kind of chewy with a mushroom-like texture. Next, he had the baby artichoke risotto, while I had the slow cooked pork belly, both of which were very good. The pork belly melted in your mouth with just enough salty bits to accent the rich pork flavour. I might return for this! Finally, to finish, I had the slow-baked apple with calvados custard cream and green apple sorbet whilst my husband had the Araguani and passion fruit cream parfait, crunchy chocolate, served with raspberry sorbet and passion fruit jelly. I thought that the apple dessert was quite special whilst the husbands was delicious but not too surprising. All in all, a pricey night out but we did feel like it was worth it.

I love Restaurant Week!! Now, if only they would start offering wine pairings...

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